Starting a new job can be an exciting yet stressful time. When it comes to signing an employment contract, many people are hesitant to bargain with their potential employer or ask for contract amendments over fears of putting the employer offside.  However, it is important to know your value as a potential employee, including what you may bring to a team and the level of compensation relevant to your skills.


When you are interviewing for a new job or negotiating an employment contract with an existing employer, it is essential that you know what experience and skills you can offer the company.  Depending on your qualifications and experience you may hold significant bargaining power.

It is important to understand the attributes that an employer is looking for.  If you are able to provide a potential employer with the skills and experience that they are after, you will have a greater ability to negotiate amendments to your contract.

Restrictive covenants

Restrictive covenants often seek to prevent an employee from engaging in the same or similar work in competition with the employer within a defined vicinity and period of time following termination of the employment.  It is important to carefully review any restrictive covenant clause in your employment contract to ensure that it is reasonable, having regard to the nature of the employment and the business interests that the employer is attempting to protect.


In conjunction with reviewing your employment contract, you should ensure you review and understand any policies that are implemented by the employer.  It is important to understand the expectations that an employer holds as provided by their written policies.  You should be aware that an employer’s policies may be incorporated by reference into the contract.  In the event that a policy does form part of an employment contract, you may be liable for breach of contract if you fail to comply with any such policies.  A breach of contract may provide the employer with grounds to terminate your employment.

Receiving advice

When presented with an employment contract you may be eager to accept the position as soon as possible to avoid the employer offering the job to another candidate.  However it is vital that you carefully review any employment contract and receive proper advice on the meaning and consequences of its terms.  This will ensure that you are adequately compensated and protected, and have a sound understanding of your rights and the employer’s expectations.

We have a dedicated team of commercial lawyers who are experienced in providing advice on employment contracts.  If you would like any assistance on reviewing or drafting employment contracts, please contact our Commercial Law Division on 9525 8688 or email Please also feel free to download our free Essential Business eGuide.